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No.18 TCU Survives Texas Tech’s Upset Bid

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TCU guard Mike Miles Jr. (1) flexes after scoring a basket and being fouled by Texas Tech during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. | Image by Gareth Patterson, AP

FORT WORTH – TCU’s late rally helped the 18th-ranked Horned Frogs men’s basketball team avoid an upset bid from Texas Tech and improve to 12-1 on the season with a 67-61 win in its Big 12 opener on Saturday at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth.

TCU jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Texas Tech rebounded with an 8-2 run of its own to take the lead. The Red Raiders’ defense clamped down for the rest of the half and built a 37-26 lead at the break.

TCU started the second half with an 11-0 scoring run that cut the lead to just a single point. Tech responded with another run to rebuild its lead to nine points with 10:36 left in the game.

The Horned Frogs cut into the lead several times in the second half but took a while to get over the hump. They tied the game on a Baugh layup with 7:09 remaining but did not take the lead until a Mike Miles layup with 3:37 left.

Texas Tech’s last effort three-pointers were off the mark, and TCU closed the game on a 12-3 run.

Miles led TCU with 23 points while Emanuel Miller added 16 and Baugh had 14.

Freshman guard Pop Isaacs led the way for Texas Tech with 17 points.

WHAT TO KNOW

This was the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams. TCU was 8-12 in conference play last season and Texas Tech was 12-6. TCU is now 12-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech is 10-3 and 0-1.

Miles crossed the 1,000 career points scored threshold on a jumper with 1:42 left in the game. He became the 39th TCU player to reach the mark and the first since Desmond Bane in 2019.

Texas Tech has only three players remaining on the team from last season. The rest of the team includes five transfers and five true freshmen.

The loss snaps a three-game streak in which Texas Tech had scored at least 100 points.

BY THE NUMBERS

TCU won this game despite leading for just 5 minutes and 39 seconds. Texas Tech led for 33 minutes and one second.

TCU came into the game leading the nation in fast break points with 21.8 per game. The Horned Frogs’ defense was a big factor in the second half, and the team finished with 22 points off turnovers — right at its season average.

Free throws proved to be a difference maker on Saturday; Texas Tech was 9-18 from the line, while TCU finished 15-20.

Texas Tech forward KJ Allen entered this game averaging 3.4 points per game. He scored 9 points in the first half on Saturday.

WHO SAID

Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams and freshman Pop Isaacs pointed to a key stretch in the game that changed the outcome.

“That first four minutes of the second half are always critical,” Adams told reporters in a postgame press conference. “It sets the tone and pace.”

“I feel like the difference in the game was us not getting the stops in the first four minutes of the second half,” Isaacs said. “They punched us in the mouth. I feel like, if we played better in those minutes, we would’ve won the game.”

TCU head coach Jamie Dixon expects more games like this across the Big 12 this season.

“Not pretty offense, but that’s what happens in this league,” he remarked postgame.

NEXT UP

TCU (12-1) plays No. 12 Baylor (10-2) on Wednesday, January 4 at 8 pm CST.  Texas Tech (10-3) plays No. 4 Kansas on Tuesday, January 3 in Lubbock at 8 pm CST.

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